The Sultanate of Oman has an extensive coastline of 3,615 km, which includes the Gulf of Oman (GOO) in the north and the Arabian Sea (NAS) in the south (Fig. 1). In comparison to the extensive research on phytoplankton productivity processes carried out in the offshore oceanic waters of the Arabian Sea during the International Joint Global Fluxes program (Wiggert et al. 2000; Smith 2001; Barber et al. 2001), phytoplankton variability in the coastal waters of Oman is poorly known. One of the limitations has been the lack of a dedicated program with systematic sampling along the coast at regular time intervals. Consequently, no information is available on plankton variability on an annual cycle. Based on the extensive array of investigations designed to observe the physical and biochemical processes in the Arabian sea, we can infer that physical-biological coupling in the coastal ecosystem of the GOO and NAS is largely driven by meteorological forcing, termed the monsoon, which manifests itself as strong, seasonally reversing winds (Wiggert et al. 2000). The two components of this annual cycle are referred to as the northeast monsoon (NEM) and the southwest monsoon (SWM).
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